I prefer controlling my relationship with the Internet and I don’t want this relationship to be unilateral. I want to get involved in every aspect of this giant community. That’s why I’ve chosen the Open Source Way: to be an active part of the Internet society. In this blog series, I’ll explain the Open Source Way, give some examples of successful applications and talk about my position in this community.
Open Source was originated in the terminology of computer programming, referring to the software whose source code can be inspected, modified, enhanced and shared by anyone. We all engage with the Open Source Software (OSS) by visiting a web page, checking mails, using Android OS, etc. They’re everywhere.
But the term Open Source has gained a broader meaning throughout the time. There are Open Source “projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development”. In other words, the Open Source Way (OSW) is to get together, to share together, to use together.
In the OSW, people are collaborating and trying to find the best solutions to the common problems. With a common purpose, they form a community. They exchange what they know and what they create. They find the chance to experiment with rapid prototyping. At the end, the best solution is determined by the gathering of community effort, as it should be in a meritocracy. To have a more detailed understanding of the Open Source Way, you can visit OpenSource.com.
But the most important feature of it is that no one needs a permission or a warrant to be a part of the OSW.
The Idea of Open Contribution
If I know how to craft a table but don’t know a second foreign language, I can collaborate with a teacher of French language who needs a table. This is a very basic demonstration of primitive trade. I’ve mentioned such an example to show that trade is powerful enough to enrich the both sides. But we cannot deny the cost of this kind of a trade. I need woods to craft the table and the teacher needs a book. Yet, when it comes to the exchange of knowledge, the modern technology diminished the production cost to nearly zero. If you know how to solve a Rubik’s Cube, you can write a blog post in your free time and share it worldwide and if you want to learn how to take better pictures, you can search for a “how to” video in YouTube.
So, in 2018, everyone should be able to reach every available information within minutes, isn’t that right? Actually, it is not that simple. The indexed Web contains billions of pages and the search engines don’t always produce the most substantial results. Furthermore, “information” itself is not constant. The Internet needs the content creators, providers, editors, indexers, hosts, etc. to keep up to date. YouTube doesn’t create a video to teach people how to use a pressure cooker, but it provides the medium for one to upload his/her video explaining the pressure cooker usage.
As I mentioned above, a trade is powerful enough to enrich the both sides involved. But in the OSW there aren’t sides of this enrichment. It is common like the air. No one is obliged to contribute to be able to take benefit from these commons. So, why would anyone contribute to the Internet community? It is simply because to enrich the Internet community is to enrich oneself.
Examples of Open Contribution
Google provides the medium called YouTube which helps new coders to learn basic things and those coders enhance the Linux Platform with their contributions. Finally, Google uses Linux as the base for its operating system called AndroidOS and millions of people use it. This is a cycle that has no distinct beginnings or endings. In the first place, YouTube has been made actual with the help of Linux platform. I’m not arguing that Google is fully compliant with the Open Source principles, this is just an example why anyone would contribute to the Internet community.
There is another benefit of open contributions which I find important to highlight. To share an undeveloped idea enables one to get the necessary feedback. If you are stuck during the process of production, why wouldn’t you get an anonymous help? Do you have an idea or an argument? Why wouldn’t you hear the opposite voices? If you did a little research on something why wouldn’t you let other people to continue? This is actually one of the reasons for me to keep blogging. To get the help of the Internet society while sharing what I’ve learned in nutshells…
Featured Image: Charlie Choppa (CC BY 2.0)